Somewhere in France,
January 25th, 1917
I don't know how long ago it is since I last wrote to you. I haven't anything to do to-night so will try and catch up some correspondence.
The weather is awfully cold but dry at present, which is much better than the rain and mud.
I am not in the trenches at present but at a test station about three miles from the line. I am only ten places down on the leave list so expect to be going on pass in about ten days. I believe Asa is moving into the same place as I am to-morrow, so expect I will be able to see him. It was July 15th that I last saw him. I guess Stanley is in England yet. Hope he can stay there for the duration.
I would like to tell you how I won the Military Medal, but it is not much use as I cannot mention the names of any places, anyway I will tell you a little about it. After all communication to Battalion headquarters had been cut off. I carried a coil of armoured cable weighing over 150 pounds about 1,000 yards alone, and I connected it up with two pair of working lines and strung the coil over the open ground in plain view of the enemy for over 400 yards. I was only 400 yards from the front line. Poor old Fritz wasted many hundred shells on me but didn't get me - not yet. I got the lines through to Battalion Head quarters alright and stayed there twelve days stringing in new ones and repairing others. When I left, I had sixteen pair working; through for Brigade headquarters and observation posts. Just one little scratch over my left eye was all I was lucky enough to get. When I came out I didn't have to walk - the lice and flies nearly carried me.
This was only 200 yards from where Charlie was killed in the same dugout that I was in. He was in one comer reading a book late one night when a 'Coal box' landed in the same comer. The concussion blew me outside and tore about four inches of the front of my tunic away; another chunk of the shell made a hole through my sleeve, but I never got a scratch.
When I get over to England, I may write you an interesting letter if I get time, but - I am afraid I won't get very much time as I have promised myself a whole lot of nice things for being lucky enough to escape unhurt after all the hell I went, through.
Well, Ella, this is only one or two of my experiences. If I had time could tell you thousands more. I don't get much time for writing, as I am busy nearly all the time, and when I do write, can't think of anything to say that would interest you except war and we are not allowed to write much about that.
Don't forget to send that candy along. It is always nice and fresh when I get it. Well, I think I will close, hoping that you are enjoying yourself and in the best of health.
Remember me to everyone I know in Lakefield.
Your loving brother,